Butterbean Organics sunscreen, which earned a #1 ranking with the Environmental Working Group (the best score possible) was created and is managed by local mom Summer Brown. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, she’s also mother to five (and expecting her sixth), and homeschools four out of those five children (the oldest attends Seacoast High School).
I feel like we should all pause from reading and give her a nice, slow clap of approval.
I was impressed enough at the creation of an all-natural line of sunscreen and bug sprays … throw in five kids and homeschooling and now it feels like bragging (I kid, I kid).
Summer created her line of sunscreen out of necessity. She wasn’t satisfied with the natural sunscreen products available to her, so she decided to get creative in her kitchen. Her homemade concoction worked great and she started sharing it with other moms who were looking for a safer alternative to commercial sunscreens.
Her friends began encouraging her to package and sell the sunscreen at farmers markets near Athens, Ga. She did and the response was so great that she created a website for Butterbean Organics. That’s when her business took off.
“I used to make everything myself,” she said. “It would be time to cook dinner and my kitchen counters would be covered with sunscreen ingredients.”
With orders coming in quicker than she could make the sunscreen, she began looking for a manufacture to make and package the sunscreen and bug sprays. She now uses a packer in North Carolina, but still sources all of the ingredients herself and processes the orders herself.
When I asked Summer how she manages to accomplish all of this, and do it well, she laughed.
“Honestly, I don’t know. It happens gradually,” she said. “We work together and the kids help me a lot. The kids are 15, 13, 10, 5 and 2 years old. Some days we will have 30-40 orders come in. I’ll put on music and we make it a team effort.”
“Our schedule does help,” she admits. “May through July is the busy time for sales and we wrap up homeschool in May and start again in August. My husband also works from home.”
With her sixth child on the way, her parents are stepping in to help with processing the orders.
She’s proud of her EWG ranking and livestrong.com top rankings of her products. She said it is the quality of the ingredients that sets Butterbean Organics apart from other organic sunscreens.
“I use organic coconut oil. I don’t use any refined products,” she explained. “I keep it pure. This year we’re going to be using beeswax from a local apiary. His beeswax smells wonderful and works well. I’m super excited about it.”
Her other ingredients include non-nano sized particle zinc oxide, organic neem oil, meadow foam seed oil, sunflower seed oil, vitamin E and shea butter.
The Bug-A-Boo bug spray uses organic cold-pressed neem oil. Summer said it was approved in 2010 by the Environmental Protection Agency as a mosquito repellant, but that it’s been hailed for centuries for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
She combined essential oils (ceylon citronella, lemongrass, rosemary, cedarwood and peppermint) with white vinegar, witch hazel and castor oil to create a product that deters bugs, smells wonderful and also soothes itchy skin.
“We named it Bug-A-Boo because that’s one of our nicknames for the kids,” she said. “The same goes for Butterbean. We’re Southern and in the South that is a term of endearment. My hope is that everyone loves the products as much as we do.”
While the vast majority of her sales occur online, you can find her products locally at For the Health of It and Modica Market.